Described by The Stage as ‘a riotously entertaining and deeply moving drama-cum-documentary’ and possibly the ‘best thing’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018, University of Bolton lecturer and playwright Ed Edwards’s gripping new play explores the history of heroin use in Manchester.

The Political History of Smack and Crack crackles with anger, humour and authenticity as it chronicles the fallout for communities crushed by the heroin epidemic at the height of Thatcherism.

Shot through with home truths about the road to recovery, this is an epic love song to a lost generation. This urgent two-hander traces a pair of star-crossed lovers from the epicentre of the working class riots in 1981 on Moss Side – an uprising which spread to London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and many other communities – to their eventual struggles on the streets of Manchester.

The script was one of five finalists in 2017’s Theatre503’s Play Writing Award out of over 1600 entries from 58 countries. The play has already received rave reviews in the Independent and the Guardian, the latter proclaiming it ‘an unsparing portrait of addiction’ in their four-star review. It is now showing to audiences at the Fringe in the Summerhall, Edinburgh, until 26 August.

Later this year, The Political History of Smack and Crack will move to the city from which it was born, Manchester, and be part of Mayor Andy Burnham’s inaugural International Arts and Homelessness Summit and Festival, curated with One Voice and supported by Manchester City Council. The play will be at the Mustard Tree, a local refuge providing care for people trapped by homelessness, dependency and poverty since 1994. Creative Writing and Theatre students at the University of Bolton will be given an inspiring opportunity to see their lecturer’s acclaimed play performed in November.

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